‘If you look at a building by Mies Vander Rohe, it might look very simple, but up close, the sheer quality of construction, materials and thought are inspirational’ – David Chipperfield
In today’s urban living, buying property satisfying all our needs is a herculean task and a dream come true. Despite shelling out a whole fortune, we seldom have the satisfaction of owning a dream house of our choice with all the parameters we looked for. We are growing more and more skeptical as we have to look into the legality, location, quality of construction, Vaastu and above all the possession of the property on time.
With the growing population of the city areas, a multitude of real estate projects is coming up day by day. There are reputed builders, mediocre ones and mushrooms of small time builders as well. We are kind of misled by all the lucrative promises that they make and are ready to shell out any amount to procure a space of our choice. In the process, we sometimes overlook certain basic loopholes as we are busy making arrangements for the fat down payment and loan processing. We tend to rely on the builder for the quality of construction, location and so on. We blindly go by the soft launch and sign up the big fat document set during the sale deed, obliging to all the clauses laid by the builder. Most of us don’t even realize that we equally have all the rights to get a clause for compensation included in the document in case of the possession being delayed or the quality of construction is not maintained. We are desperate to get our dream house and wouldn’t risk a tiff with the builder.
We need to have a checklist of tasks that has to be done before we decide to buy property.
The factors that we need to look into before buying property are:
- Genuineness of the property
- Ambience and external appearance
- Quality of construction
- Legal compliances
- Vaastu compliances
- Possession of the property
Genuineness of the property
A genuine property with clear documents should be the first and foremost aspect that we need to check. Scrutinizing the legal documents like the Land parent documents, Plan approval, Building approval, Sanctioned building plan, Commencement certificate, EC up to date for the last 13 years, and so on. Most of this work is done by the banks when we go for a housing loan. It has to be verified whether the property is residential or commercial as per the Development Control Regulations. Other factors such as heritage rules, ASI (Archeological Survey of India) restricted zones, set-back for road widening may apply to certain constructions. We also have to do a little research on the geographical location of the proposed construction if it is in an aviation zone, very close to the sea or located in a marshy area where the subsoil conditions are very poor and not suitable for construction. The collapse of an under construction high raised apartment complex in Porur, Chennai a couple of years back is an eye-opener for all of us. Also, beware of land acquisitions for government projects like SIPCOT or Metro Rail and so on. Consult with the concerned authorities before buying property. Projects near industrial areas also have to be speculated as there may be a risk of air/water pollution from industrial and chemical wastes.
Ambience and external appearance
This has become the priority of most of the constructions. We always need to look into the fact that most of the builders give only 60 – 65% of carpet area. As the rest of it goes for the common areas. The carpet area is the actual usable area within the inner walls of our individual unit. It is the area excluding the thickness of the walls. The carpet area along with the thickness of the inner walls and the balcony is the built up area. The thickness of the inner walls may be either 6 or 9 inches depending on the type of construction. The built up area plus the proportionate area of common areas such as the lobby, lifts, shaft, staircase and so on. Is called the super built up area. Most of the projects these days give a lavish common area and a crimpy living space. It solely rests on the individual as to what they want.
The quality of construction of the structure
This is one aspect which can never be compromised before buying property.
It is not the beauty of a building you should look at: it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time. – David Allan Coe.
All things evolve for a better change.
Though bricks have been used since Indus Valley civilization, not many changes have happened to the quality of bricks till recent years.
Earlier the clay was collected from different places, prepared and molded, dried and then was fired in a kiln that was manually operated. There was no fool-proof process or an assurance of the quality. The quality of the brick was also not gauge-able because of lack of device or technology.
But things have changed now for the better, in fact for the best.
A new quality brick has been manufactured and is being used by all major property developers. The Porotherm brick acts as a smart brick.
Image Courtesy: Wienerberger.
Advantages of using these bricks
- These bricks have internal open spaces for insulation purpose hence in summers they are cool and in winters warm.
- The electrical and other pipes can be easily fit between them at any point of time, without any damage being caused to the structure.
- These bricks are designed in such a way that they can be easily joined together.
- The brick blocks are constructed with strong concrete which enables us to build buildings at much cheaper costs.
- The construction can be done within a lesser time period and with more accurate measurements.
- There is a very little mess created in this type of building system when compared to that of the traditional building methods.
The electrical cables, the pipelines for water and sewage, the lifts should be of good standard. They should be durable and long lasting.
- We have to ensure that the builder is using the best of all the construction materials which meets the ISI standards.
- The quality assurance should be taken into consideration before we sign the sale agreement. We as the consumer have every right to raise an objection or make a demand as per the law. We cannot afford to incur huge losses after the construction is over.
- We also have to check for any encroachment and deviation in the building plan.
- We have to check if the building is constructed as per the FSI (Foot Space Index) to avoid complications in the future. There are a few constructions which are said to be even earthquake resistant.
A good location
A good location which is suitable according to your needs is an important criterion. There should be accessibility to day to day activities like office, school, shopping, hospital etc., Approaching roads and transportation facilities for easy conveyance is also a must. It should also be a little inset from the arterial roads to avoid the traffic, noise, and air pollution. There should be a patch of free space and greenery for healthy living and place for children to play. Many huge apartment complexes have integrated townships with all the amenities including gym, play area, shopping complexes, schools and so on for the benefit of the society. But accordingly the maintenance charges for these complexes are exorbitant and unaffordable for the commoners. Many of these facilities also remain nonfunctional after a few years and end up vestigial. Some constructions are carried out right next to a garbage dump yard which can be very unpleasant for the inmates and the visitors. These dump yards can never be removed later and you will have to bear with it ever after.
These are important religious beliefs of the Hindu tradition. It is a deep-rooted practice which is still followed in most of the Indian households. There is a scientific reason for these beliefs which allows good light, cross ventilation and a healthy living atmosphere. But in most of the constructions and buying property the aspect of Vaastu is minimal as there are practical issues for the builder to incorporate Vaastu in the construction. He has to effectively use the land and also satisfy the customer. At least the basics of the Vaastu Shastra like the Agni, Jal, and Vayu moola of the house should be taken into consideration. The facing of the unit is also an important aspect of it. Mostly people prefer the east and the north facing units. But people all over India have different preferences according to the geographical location of their native place. For instance, the people from the south like the Tamil Nadu prefer south facing units where as the people from west like Mumbai prefer west facing houses. But generally a north /east facing house can easily enable the construction as per the Vaastu Shastra to some extent.
Possession of the property
Every builder tries to postpone the possession date as much as possible as they fail to keep up the time constraint. There may be various excuses like the delayed approvals, labor, weather, finance, legal issues and so on. But why should they penalize the customer? They lay clauses and fine us heavily for delayed scheduled payments but not for delayed completion. We as a buyer should emphasize on compensation for any delay from the builders side. We should get the clause for compensation included right in the sale deed. There are people who incur huge financial losses paying their EMI’s and also a heavy rent simultaneously.
Procuring a completion certificate and an occupancy certificate is also very important. We have to realize that the property that we have purchased is the place we are going to live in and not just as an investment. We should do some home work before we decide on buying property.
Buying property these days is easy. Banks are ready to approve loans immediately if you have valid documents. But you need to keep all the above factors into the mind and then go for buying property.
Authored by a Building Expert from Wienerberger India
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